What Color Are LED Lights? - The Basics of Color Temperature and LEDs

Image courtesy of wikipedia.com

The short answer is practically any color or hue of light you can imagine. Unlike CFL lights, LEDs are NOT prone to that blueish-white color so despised by many consumers. LED lights can come in a warm white (or yellowish hue) of an incandescent, or the powerful cool white light (often used in street lights or security lights). 
If you'd like to learn more about the basics of color temperature and LED lights, then continue on below!

Basics of Color Temperature

Color temperature is a standardized method of measuring the hue or color of a light as it appears to the human eye. The unit of measurement is called Kelvin (abbreviated to 'K'). The color temperatures of standard lighting range between 1500K to 10,000K, with the majority of lights being between 2700K to 6000K. 

As you can see from the diagram, the lower the number, the more yellowish or even orange the light. The higher the number the more white to bluish the color becomes. 

LED lights are available in almost any color temperature imaginable. Below is a table of the most common color temperatures of traditional kinds of lighting and it's availability in LED. 


What Color Temperature Should I Use?

This range of color temperatures can be broken down for simplicity into the following:
  • Warm White - 2500-3200K
    • A warm, yellowish light. 
    • Often used in homes, hospitality, restaurants, or any place that needs to look warm and inviting. 
    • 2700K is typically used with standard light bulbs or candelabras. Most halogen lights are around 3000K
  • Natural White - 3500-4500K
    • A whiter, purer colored light. 
    • Used in some homes with a light color decor, or in retail and storefronts or office buildings. Provides a brighter, cleaner look. 
    • Often used with halogen lighting, or higher quality fluorescent lights. 
  • Cool White - 5000-6500K
    • A very bright, very white to almost bluish light. 
    • Often used in locations that need to maximize light output, such as street lights, warehousing, and some retail locations. Maximizes the lumen output of a product, providing the most light possible. 
    • Often associated with high bay lights, flood lights, or fluorescent lights.  
For more information on choosing a color temperature, see the full "What Color Temperature Should I Choose?"

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